Date: 2018-02-15 14:38
This was an honest portrayal of this man's struggle. I don't necessarily think that this will work for all gay men, but one thing is *absolute*, and that is G-d and His Torah are our lifeline and guidebook in this world. And there is no question what the Torah standpoint is on the act of homosexuality. The justification often said is why would G-d create one with desires that he/she can't act upon? Why would He want someone to be lonely? Why should someone not be satisfied sexually when this is such an integral and important aspect to the Torah? These questions are much larger than the issue of homosexuality. How about if someone is in a wonderful marriage and, G-d forbid, their spouse is in a terrible accident and enters into a coma? or is paralyzed? or if someone's spouse is sickly ill for many, many years? or their spouse dies? or if someone is an older, lonely, and single, and cannot find their spouse? They could be feeling extremely lonely, they could be desperately missing their loved one, they could also be deprived sexually. They may ask the same questions. They may wonder why they were put in such a situation. The bottom line is the belief that we are in this world for a purpose and G-d has tailor-made our lives for each and every one of us. Life can sometimes be desperately hard, to the point where you feel you can't cope, except that you know this is from G-d, and after 675 years you'll discover why you were meant to have these challenges. True G-dliness is coming closer to G-d by reacting to our struggles in the way He asks of us, through the guidelines of the Torah. Someone I know was at a funeral for an older Russian man. He and his wife were *censored*less. At the funeral the wife asked to speak. She related how they lived in a small town in communist Russia for the first 75 years of their marriage. During that entire time, there was no mikvah anywhere in her town, or within traveling distance. They desperately tried to escape, but they were not permitted to leave. She cried brokenly as she related, "For 75 years we lived together and for 75 years we lived apart". Meaning, they did not have sexual relations for the entire time, because the Torah forbids sexual relations without first immersing in the mikvah. When they finally moved to Israel, she was too old to have *censored*ren. Imagine the pain, the isolation. Is this something we can comprehend? And yet, she emphatically stated, she had no regrets. She was proud to have overcome such a challenge. One may look and think they were crazy. But this was what G-d asked of them. By bending and shaping the Torah to fit what suits you, you are sadly missing the point of the short time we were put in this world. This couple's eternity will be something most of us can never imagine. That, is true G-dliness.
My comments to michael are that i in many ways agree with you. I personally am not gay. Indeed, I am an orthodox rabbi in cape Town South Africa married with *censored*ren. I am in contact with a number of gay men, and occasionally women, in this capacity and have discovered in many of them the pain and anguish that you express in words between the lines of your comments. However, at the same time i believe that the whole matter needs to be seen within the context of torah and halacha. It is in no way easy to control one's sexual desires and motivations, and that is not what i wish to address is the following: ."The BIG solution would be that if a boy or girls family would be open about this fact of life, and supportive, then the person struggling with their feelings could find support in their home and in their community." I THINK THAT YOU ARE 655% CORRECT WE HAVE BECOME PUNITIVE AND JUDGEMENTAL. ACCEPTANCE OF PEOPLE AS PEOPLE AS OPPOSSED TO pEOPLE WHO BEHAVE IN A PARTICULAR MANNER IS A FLAW WHICH WE AS A NATION NEED TO ADDRESS. HOWEVER AT THE SAME TIME, WHEN A PERSON LABELS THEMSELVES AS GAY, THEY SET THEMSELVES UP FOR JUDGEMENT FROM THOSE WHO ARE HOMOPHOBIC. HOW MANY PEOPLE LABLE THEMSELVES AS "NON SHABBAT OBSERVERS" & "TREIF EATERS" ETC. ALTHOUGH SOMEWHAT INFANTILE YOU MAY SAY IN COMPARISON, I IN MANY WAYS BELIEVE THAT THE RECOGNITION THAT THE JEWISH, RELIGIOUSLY INCLINED GAY COMMUNITY IS TRYING TO GET AS PEOPLE IS SABOTAGED BY THEIR SELF LABLING AS GAY. WHY DO WE NEED GAY AND LESBIAN SHULS (YOU ARE 655% CORRECT!), THE OBLIGATION OF THE RABBI'S AND SPIRITUAL LEADERS IS TO TEACH THEIR CONGREGATIONS TOLERANCE FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT ADHERE TO THE ENTIRE GAMUT OF HALACHIC PROCESS - WHATEVER IT MAY BE. ITS GOD'S JOB TO JUDGE AND OUR JOB TO TEACH AND NURTURE. NOBODY OPENS A SHUL AND LABELS IT THE "SHUL OF THE THIEVES" or THE SHUL OF THE FRAUDSTERS". WHERE DO YOU HAVE A COMMUNITY THAT IS LABLED BY THE VERY TRANGRESSION THAT THEY PERFORM. THE PROBLEM HOWEVER IS EXACTLY THIS - AS YOU ARE AWARE FROM A HALACHIK POINT OF VIEW, HOMOSEXUAL SEXUAL ACTIVITY IS FORBIDDEN, AND LIKE THEFT, BREAKING OF SHABBAT, EATING NON-KOSHER, SPEAKING LASHON HARA, DISRESPECTING PARENTS ETC CANNOT BE TOLERATED or ACCEPTED. THE PEOPLE ENGAGING IN THESE PRACTISES (SEXUAL, FRAUD ETC)HOWEVER ARE PEOPLE AND MUST BE ACCEPTED AS SUCH DESPITE THEIR TRANSGRESSION OF HALACHA. YES THERE ARE LAWS PERTAINING TO HOW WE DEAL WITH THEM FROM A RITUAL AND HALACHIC POINT OF VIEW BUT SO MUCH OF THAT IS NOW ACADEMIC IN THE SOCIETY IN WHICH WE LIVE) THE ARTICLE GOES A LONG WAY TO ASSIST CERTAIN PEOPLE UPON A PATHWAY OF SELF RECOGNITION. FOR OTHERS WHO HAVE NOT COME ALONG THAT PATHWAY TO GET TO WHERE THEY ARE, IN THEIR RECOGNITION OF THEIR SEXUAL PREFERENCE WILL PERHAPS REMAIN FOREVER FRUSTRATED IN THIS SO FUNDAMENTAL PART OF LIFE. HOWEVER TO CONDONE AND ACCEPT THE PRACTICE, WITHIN THE AMBIT OF HALACHA IS DIFFICULT. PERHAPS IN MANY WAYS THIS IS INDICATIVE OF OUR SOCIETY'S OBSESSION WITH SEXUALITY AND SEX ITSELF. YES, ITS A PRIMORDIAL NEED AND DRIVE, BUT ITS CERTAINLY NOT THE BE ALL AND END ALL. PERHAPS A REFOCUSS ON GIVING, LEARNING, CHESSED COULD ASSIST IN HELPING THESE DEAR SOULS WHO ARE TRULY CRYING OUT TO CONNECT TO SOMETHING AUTHENTIC. THROUGH GIVING TO OTHERS WE CONNECT, WE SHOW PEOPLE WHO WE ARE AS PEOPLE AND YES, PERHAPS YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS DIFFERENT TO MINE, BUT WHEN YOU'RE IN CAPE TOWN, LOOK ME UP, COME FOR FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER AND SHABBOS LUNCH, ENGAGE TO ENGAGE. I PROMISE NO PRESSURE TO GET MARRIED or ANYTHING ELSE, JUST A DESIRE TO CONNECT WITH ANOTHER SENSITIVE JEW.
Mr. Kort, After reading your comment there are several points you touch upon that seem to require responses. However I would like to preface any upcoming comments by saying that you seem like a caring and well intentioned man, and also that, never having stood in your shoes I am not in a position to judge you as a person. So any comments that follow should please be taken in the context of addressing an issue, not a personal criticism in any way. You said that "A broad brush painted over how others *should* live their lives is always frought with danger and problems." In one respect this is true. No person independently has the wisdom and clarity of the full bigger picture enough to tell any group of people what they should or should not do (unless the community receiving this advice has voluntarily accepted that individual as someone to guide and direct them.) However, G-d is another story. He created us, He created the world, and He knows how the system works. He therefore DOES have the clarity and perspective to call the shots of how we, as human beings, should live our lives. Our Father in heaven can tell us what to do (and should, as any good father will try, using the wisdom at his disposal, to guide his *censored*ren on the most correct path.) However, unlike our earthly parents, G-d's rules and guidance are as infallible as He is. Of course, like any parent, we have a choice to follow G-d's directives or not. In fact, this is the essence of our humanity. To act in accordance with His will, or to go our own way. One of G-d's commandments is to love Him. How can He command us to have a feeling? We also are commanded by G-d to love our neighbor. Indeed, if controlling our feelings were not possible, G-d would not ask this of us. What we feel is a choice. That is not to say that, in any given moment, a person can make any decision. For example, I could not, at this stage in life, CHOOSE to steal a car and run over a *censored* old lady crossing the street. That is much too cruel for the person I am now. However, if I habitually practiced being just a bit more cruel on a daily basis, within a number of years, I would be able to consider such a thing. (Indeed, if you look at history, you can see that armies of the past have used such tactics, having their soldiers hurt and then kill *censored*s repeatedly so that, when faced with their human enemies, they would be able to slaughter them without remorse.) At the same time, it is not within my range of CHOICE at this time to take my entire wardrobe and donate it to a homeless person. But with many years of practicing generosity, this too is within my reach. The point I am trying to make here is that our choices can take us down roads we would not necessarily visualize. They can block us into corners, or open doors to vast possibilities. And we can CHOOSE which path to walk down, knowing what destination lies ahead. You say that "Being gay is not a choice." Is your intention to say that the author of this article never was gay? or that his current heterosexual attraction is an illusion? The question of whether BEING gay is a choice or not is actually a moot point here. The question IS whether or not ACTING UPON THESE DRIVES IS A CHOICE or NOT. Indeed, if G-d has included this prohibition in His Torah, then it IS within the range of choice for each member of humanity. (Someone once described it to me in these plain terms - If G-d knows that something is right or wrong for EVERY Jew then He makes it a mitzvah. If it's only good for some people, then it gets listed as a suggestion.) Of course it is not an easy choice, or one that can be reached quickly, but it is indeed a choice. You said that for the author of this article, "living as an openly gay or lesbian person would be more staying closeted and living a heterosexual life." That may be true, but he is NOT 'closeted' as you say, but rather has addressed and dealt with this issue. The author himself says that, with work, "feeling better about [him]self as a man led to healthy, normal heterosexual attractions." That you have not climbed that mountain does not make it insurmountable. This sounds harsh, but, if a murderer kills people because he is "living in congruence with who [he] really [is]", you cannot argue that that "*is* the right way to live." We Torah Jews do not define wrong and right by WHAT WE DO. We attempt to define what we do by WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG. Please forgive me for traversing personal territory, but you say that you are gay and how you presented yourself it seems that you are leading a gay lifestyle. You also said that you have written books about gay identity. With all due respect, it is difficult for someone in your position to agree with the author. Few people could have enough intellectual integrity to overcome the cognitive dissonance that would come from understanding and agreeing with his point of view. You also said that "I hope an article from AISH comes out about gay and lesbian Jews who are Orthodox." So do I, but probably not in the way that you mean. Being 'Orthodox' requires belief in the divinity of the Torah AND it's laws, and trying one's best to adhere to said laws. Someone who is gay and doesn't act upon it for G-d's sake is to be speaking openly about that would be a huge *censored*dush Hashem, a sanctification of G-d's name. May each and every member of our nation merit to overcome our struggles and sanctify G-d's name in our own lives and in the lives of others, and may we merit to see the final redemption this year! Shana tovah!
This article is an honest assessment of Homosexuality. And to explain what homosexuality is, is not persecuting it (and a defensive reaction proves certain points the article makes IMHO). There is sexual response is genetic (that studies have shown can be stimulated mechanistically, regardless of sexual orientation), sexual identity is also biologically determined by ones gender (Male, Female, hermaphroditic/true trans-gendered), and sexual orientation rests on one's biological gender, and all three can be psychologically, emotionally and sociologically, reinforced and or arrested, purposely and or circumstantially, by abuse and or neglect, and or personal entrainment. In recent times Homosexuality (and many others forms of psychological, emotional, and or sociological dysfunctions) has been egocentrically justified as a natural and or healthy “lifestyle” choice, that is not really a choice but genetic and or is in fact nothing but a psychologically and sociological reinforced choice to subsist, in a state less than full potential, reinforced and justified by political ideology and selective social reinforcement. An example of selective social reinforcement is post-op Male to female pseudo-trans-gendered who experience a complete elimination of sexual pleasure and sexual gratification (and must relearn their sexual responses psychologically and somatically), and hide this fact (among many others) from other pre-op “trans-gendered.” Post-op female to males pseudo-trans-gendered have their own biological and physical defects (psychological, emotional and sociological dysfunction aside), such as artificial “pseudo-male” aggression from hormone therapy, etc., that they hide from pre-op female to males pseudo-trans-gendered. These are just a few of the long laundry list of defects and negative results as fact of sexual reassignment surgery, that proves an ideological, and or psychological justification for a scientifically untenable position. There are many justifications for homosexuality, , genetics, psychological, biological, all of them based on flawed logic, selective unscientific studies, and are all allegorical. And references to examples of history are based on immoral, exploitive, abusive, patriarchal slave cultures, of which a fragmented dualistic theology/spirituality is indicative as well. That also did not have the benefit of God's revelations, let alone qualities of self investigation, self discovery, egoic transcendence, and transcendental self affirmation. The natural tendency of these civilizations was to placate and nurture the lowest and bases common denominator in human existence They were abusive and neglective exploitive slave societies and cultures disposed toward impulse gratification of a sociological, psychological and emotional arrested development, and aggressive exploitation of people as cattle. They were abusive and neglective societies as a rule opposed to cultivate the highest human qualities and potential and establish an environment and society that nurtures human potential spiritually, psychologically and emotionally, and produces truly fulfilled, healthy, happy and whole human individuals.
Sorry to differ with you, Joe. I am a practicing . Clinical Psychologist, and have been for over 75 years. I know that our profession teaches the disease or "orientation" model, and believes that a person can't "Change" what he/she is. I absolutely DISAGREE with this. Homosexual behavior was originally in the DSM II. Most of use believed back then that it was a behavior, and had done much research on in. However, with a large influx of people into our profession who were practicing homosexual behaviors as their lifestyle, it became politically correct to change our stand, and remove it from the DSM III. Then our fellow psychologists spent the next 65 years justifying this with theories and research which was based on smoke and mirrors. It then became a protected theory, or rather a new "law" that there was such a thing as Homosexuality, and that it was not in the person's control. This mistaken concept was promulgated to remove the "guilt" from those practicing that behavior, and to legitimize it in the eyes of the world. But.. deep down, we all have a choice of relating sexually to the other gender or to our own. David is not wrong, though there are many other reasons for a person's choosing to engage in homosexual behavior. Often it is a matter of simple, old-fashioned operant conditioning. One has a few painful experiences with heterosexual behavior, maybe a few rejections, etc., then experiences homosexual behavior and is positively reinforced for it. Most men who are regular practitioners of homosexual behavior are very careful with the feelings of the young newbies, and show them lots of affection, acceptance, and all of the positive reinforcements which they failed to receive during their initial attepts at hetero life. Obviously this can happen at any age or state. I have inquired about publishing an article or two, but was clearly told it would not be published, as they will not publish anything which opposed the protected theory of homosexuality. In fact, it has become like racism. Just as if one disagrees with a minority person one is frequently accused of racisim, so if anyone posits that concept that anyone can "change" his/her sexual practices, one is accused of "homophobia" or of hatred towards "gays." Our profession spreads this misinformation, and is guilty of surpressing opposition to their theories. But, one should not surpress the truth. ANYONE can choose to change his/her behaviors. Surely, it is not easy. Just as changing an addictive behavior is difficult, so is changing one's sexual behavior. Also, the person has a strong avoidance behavior which the addict does not always have. Some if not many "gays" are petrified of relating sexually with the opposite gender. But, it can be done. And, yes, they can be happy, well-adjusted people after giving up their homosexual behaviors, and adopting heterosexual behaviors.
Michoel, The fault is mine for not writing with sufficient clarity. Of course, one can be having difficulties with a particular aveirah and still be frum. The wording was poor. I myself have so many faults, it is laughable that I would say frum is to be completely without sin. I WISH I was there. I meant something different. Some people on this thread are saying, proudly, it is perfectly fine to engage in gay behaviors, and that is compatible with being frum. That gay people need to be "true to themselves". If we give in to our physical desires, we are somehow "being true to ourselves". That gay behaviors are an innocent fact of life such as blonde hair or an artistic talent. They posit, how dare some people intimate that there is anything against the Torah in such a lifestyle. THAT is where the deceit is found. Do you hear people say, it is OK to eat pork and be an observant Jew? Is it OK to rob a bank and be an observant Jew? Rather, you would hear the individual say, I am an observant Jew, but I struggle mightily with my desire for pork. I sometimes fall. That is my personal challenge that I am working on. or, I am an observant Jew, but I have great temptation to rob. I struggle with this temptation greatly, and hope to overcome it. This is all intellectually honest. One knows Torah, and one aspires to observe ALL the laws. All of us have temptations, perhaps not pork or bank robbery, but others. However, some of the posters were saying something quite different. For some reason, just because the physical urges for gay behavior are so great, they think it is OK to pretend that Torah really doesn't forbid it. "I'm Orthodox and gay and proud of it", is how these individuals come across. This is precisely where the gross dishonesty comes into play, and there are many who cause others to sin in this manner, by spreading falsehood about the Torah's position in regard to this. Yes, it is excruciatingly difficult to begin the journey to overcome and aspire higher. And those who live with their gay inclination and do not engage in gay behavior are heroes of the spirit. They shall merit tremendous reward in the world to come. In the next world, when all physical urges are over, it is people like these who will reap the benefits of a life lived in accordance with Hashem's Will. It is incumbent upon all of us to give Chizuk, warmth and support to those who are struggling with these issues. To those who suppress and mock others' support, they will need to live with their machati es harabim by curbing even in the slightest way the potential for people so greatly challenged in this area to climb spiritual heights and upon reaching the summit, know that their life was truly a masterpiece to be proud of- the real pride- the one that is everlasting.
I too came to very similar conclusions as David, however i am in the middle of my own person path home. With the amazing help of my family and therapist to guide and support me, i am able to work on the core of my issues and slowly watch my homosexual drives dissapate. Not in a forced, or even sexually focused way but in a reflected way. As i discover more about my true self, i feel my heart and soul heal, and thus a healthier self is reflected back into the world. For those who aren't homosexuals. this abstract idea will possibly go well over your head (hence i understand your frustraion with the issue) but I HAVE NO DOUBT that homosexually orientated individual reading this will resonate with the idea that it's not just their sexual urges that are different in them. There is something further back in ther self-esteem, in their feelings of belonging, in their family dynamics, in their experiences. that has shaped this distotred reflection of their self. And i'm here to tell them that they don't always have to feel that way!!! It is not hard for me to understand why people are so passionately opposed or infavour of David's, my and may other peopels view points on this issue but one thing we must not forget. As an outsider to experiencing this issue, one can only be expected to abstractly understand so much and as an insider one can only be expected to express where we ourselves are up to in our own personal journey. Hence WHY FIGHT.. we're all so underqualified! Just appreciate the fact that we all want this world to be a place where people are able to feel fulfilled and loved, hence lets forget our different biases (because we'll never agree on the external premises) and lets all start on common ground. "If you have any issue that is causing you any pain in your life. We love you and we're here to try help you in what ever way we can. No judgements, no expectations, no preditermined path. Just humilty in our own weakness and faith in the essence of all G-d creations" Sincere love is the only thing that penerates layers of barriers around ones souls. So lets all work on our own sencerity! for those interested: There is so much out there web-sites (NARTH, JONAH) Trained therapist (refer to the websites) and people like me and the few of you, who will always know the truth behind what the world thinks is about pride or equal rights. Lets start living up to our mission of being a light unto the nation. But lets not start with telling people how they should be, but help them to discover it for themselves. Good luck on all your paths. M